The Emperor put on his new clothes and went forth into the Capital City. He was dressed in the clothes of a Prime Minister. He grinned the grin of a cat who had just got a bowl full of cream as he caught sight of himself in a mirror.
Like that other famous Emperor Napoleon, he was not very tall but made up the lack of height with pomade.
The people watched as he went past and sniggered. He was not aware that on his back was a sign saying in large lettering 'Acting Prime Minister'. The laughter got louder and he shouted at the assembled media 'I'm not talking to you' then proceeded to tell them at great length their place in the grand order of things.
A crowd had gathered and began to chant 'Show us your baubles of office'. He did not panic but called his lawyer to discuss what possible action he could take to silence those who accused him of bauble mongering now he was no longer a Kingmaker but an Emperor.
He thought he had hidden his baubles of office where no one could see them but clearly, they were still visible to all. A shout from the back of the crowd disturbed this moment of glory. " What about all those derogatory things you said in the media about foreigners- particularly those from China?"
He frowned and a dark cloud passed over his face. "That was rhetorical. I never believed that stuff. I was just saying it so I would get elected."
The crowd fell silent. They were stunned by the idea that someone would insult a whole nation in a sort of power game and to make it worse, not even believe what he was saying.
This was a different kind off double hypocrisy. They could sort of understand someone playing the xenophobe to accompany an orchestra of bigotry but do that without believing any of it seemed more extradentary than being passionately misguided about the threat posed by people coming here from other countries. (while conveniently forgetting that's how they got here themselves.)
He scowled and turned around to see who was heckling him. "You are not the Prime Minister I am". He thought he had heard some other great leader use that line before so it must be worth using again.
A small child standing nearby pointed and called out "Look, the Emperor has no mandate. The people did not vote for you. We did not elect you so why should we regard you as our ruler".
The rest of crowd had not noticed till then that the Emperor had no mandate. They began pointing at him and chanting 'the Emperor has no mandate. The emperor has no mandate and we can see your baubles of office".
The Emperor was dismayed and wondered if he could take a child to court for telling tales out of school but then pictured the headlines and thought better of it.
He knew he was only going to be Emperor for 6 weeks while Queen Jacinda took maternity leave but he would show them who's boss. He would take everyone to court. He would disagree with everything.
He beamed at the thought of all that power but the crowd were getting restless and starting to get to close.
He called for his limousine and once behind the tinted windows and heading back towards the castle he starting scheming. He would show them what acting was - that was something he had been doing for years.
Terry Sarten (aka Tel) is a writer, musician and satirista. Feedback welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org